Tuesday, March 28, 2006

French Protests

As I've mentioned before, when I was in college I spent a great deal of time studying protests. I also spent hours watching footage from the Seattle WTO protests and studying the police response. As I'm watching the protests currently underway in France I am struck by the similarities between these two protests. The police response is hardly adequate in this mass of humanity. Police are surrounded on all sides as they push against a group of protesters, their backs are literally unprotected.

In Seattle, plain-clothes policemen had to travel through the rioting crowds with duffel bags filled with more tear gas. Those bags of tear gas were, minutes before, delivered to Seattle by way of private aircraft from other jurisdictions. While watching these small groups of policemen (5-6) standing in the middle of a crowd, kicking their shields I can't help but wonder when we'll see plain-clothes policemen carrying duffel bags through the crowd.

Also, whoever said that violent protest doesn't get your issue out, obviously was not watching the coverage of Seattle back in '99 or Paris in '06. I have never seen as much coverage of a protest on live television, nor have I heard so many anchors and analysts talk about the issue that they are protesting against. They have done a better job describing the issues in Paris then they have in discussing the issue with immigration here in the United States.

Last note, I was surprised to see how many of the protesters were carrying cameras. I would expect that pretty soon we'll be seeing these pictures up on flickr.


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